IKFF Ranks, Rules and FAQ

Kettlebell Sport Competition: Rules & Regulations Rights & Obligations of Participants

Good sportsmanship is required of all participants. Antagonizing competitors, judges, or officials will not be tolerated.

  1. Competitors displaying unsportsmanlike conduct may be disqualified immediately, whether or not his/her set has been complete or is yet to happen. b. Spectators and coaches displaying unsportsmanlike conduct may be asked to leave the premises immediately.


  1. Unsportsmanlike conduct may result in immediate disqualification. b. Three warnings for any one violation may result in a disqualificaiton.

Violations & Warnings

  1. Violations include:
    1. Touching the kettlebell with your free hand during one-arm events
    2. Resting the kettlebells on shoulders (except during initial clean in jerk with two kettlebells)
    3. Extra swing(s) at any time during snatch or long-cycle
    4. Half-snatching (dropping the bell to your shoulders or rack rather than dropping directly into the swing portion of the snatch) except during the hand switch.
  2. Warnings
    1. Up to three warnings may be issued per violation – upon the 4th, the set will be stopped and result in disqualification. (Note: It is possible to accrue 3 different violations without being disqualified)
    2. Violations do not have to occur continuously (one right after the other). They may be accrued throughout the set.
  3. Failed attempts occur when a competitor is unable to stop, or fixate, the kettlebell overhead. These reps will not be counted.
    1. A judge may stop the set if he/she believes the competitor is at risk of injury.
    2. A judge may allow up to three failed attempts before he/she stops the set.
    3. A terminated set due to multiple failed attempts will not result in disqualification. The good reps will be counted towards your result.
    4. Participants may terminate his/her set at will.
    5. Dropping or setting down the kettlebell(s) during the set will be considered self-terminating.

Scheduled Flights

  1. Participants will lift at his/her assigned platform at the start of the flight. Lifters must stay within the designated platform area.
  2. The flight schedule and order of events will be determined by the host organization. Typically flights will be organized from lighest to heaviest kettlebell divisions and will allow for a minimum of 45 minutes between jerk and snatch events for Biathlon participants.
  3. You will be allowed only one attempt for the event you are registered. If you do not make it to your flight, you will not be given another time and you will not receive a refund. It is your responsibility to be ready and at your platform prior to the start of the flight.

Division Changes

You have up until two weeks before the competition to change your division. After that point, no changes will be accepted – no exceptions . This allows us to configure the flights in advance and enables to us to post the flights on the website prior to the competition.


  1. Weigh-ins are held on the eve of and/or the morning of the competition. The time frame will be determined and announced by meet organizers in adavance.
  2. Weigh-ins are conducted before competitions at a designated location by host organizers.
  3. Participants may choose to be weighed clothed or unclothed. If the athlete’s weight exceeds the pre-selected weight class, he or she has the option to be weighed again within the allocated time frame determined by the host organizers.


  1. Kettlebells and chalk will be provided by host organizers.
  2. Participants may only use chalk and water to prepare the weights and hands.


  1. Clothing must not cover elbow and knee joints of the participant. b. Shoes (closed toe) must be worn by all participants.

Weightlifting Belts

  1. Participants are allowed to use a weightlifting belt of their choosing so long as the width does not exceed 12cm and a thickness of no more than 0.8cm. b. The belt may not be worn underneath the participants shirt nor may other fabric be placed over the belt.

Wrist / Knee Wraps

  1. Participants may use wrist wraps so long as the width does not exceed 12cm. b. Participants may use knee wraps so long as the width does not exceed 25cm.

*Participants are forbidden to use any other equipment that may aid in kettlebell lifting. Only the aforementioned items may be used.

Requirements for the Competitive Lifts Jerk

  1. Brief pause in the rack position before each jerk; resetting prior to each rep.
  2. Two distinct knee bends: a) first bend with the bell(s) still racked; and b) second bend just after the initial the drive with the bell(s) ascending and just prior to elbow fixation. If the judge does not see a distinguishable second knee bend, you will receive a no-count.
  3. Some competitors are unable to fully extend (straighten) their elbows. Regardless, elbow fixation (no movement) is required once the 2nd knee bend is completed and prior to extending (straightening) and fixing your knees. If the judge sees movement in your elbow after you extend your knees, you will receive a no-count.
  4. A brief pause in the overhead position with your knees and elbows extended and fixed before dropping the bell(s) into the rack. If the judge is unable to distinguish a brief pause, you will receive a no-count.


  1. An initial/extra swing to start a snatch set is not allowed; you will be issued a warning for this violation.
  2. Knee dip/bend/undersquats are allowed but are held to the same standards as the jerk- elbow fixation is required prior to extending your knees. If the judge sees movement in the elbow after extending your knees, you will receive a no-count.
  3. A brief, distinct pause in the overhead, fixed position is required. If the judge is unable to distinguish a brief pause, you will receive a no-count.
  4. The overhead fixed position is vertical; 90 degrees, perpendicular to the floor; straight arm next to your ear and head, at minimum. If the bell is snatched to less than vertical, you will receive a no-count; “10 o’clock” arm position will not be counted.
  5. If your arm is fixed but not in a 90+ degree position, you will receive a no-count.
  6. Many lifters are able to extend past vertical, which is allowable; the same standards apply; elbow fixation and a brief, distinct pause are required.
  7. No extra swings are allowed – this is a violation. If you accrue 3 violations, you will be disqualified.
  8. Dropping the bell to the rack is a violation. If you accrue 3 violations, you will be disqualified and receive no count for your entire set.

Long Cycle

The jerk portion of the long-cycle is held to the same standards as the jerk; see above.

  1. After the clean, there must be a clear and distinguishable pause in the rack. Your hips and knees should be extended. If you do not pause in the rack prior to the jerk, you will receive a no-count.
  2. Overhead fixation in the long-cycle are held to the same standards of the jerk; see above.
  3. After overhead fixation, you may drop the bell(s) into the rack and “touch and go”, in which a pause in the rack is almost indistinguishable. However, you must hit the rack and not drop directly into the swing. If you do not hit the rack position prior to the swing, you will receive a no-count.

Chair Press

  1. To start the set, the competitor will clean the bell(s) to the rack position from either a seated or standing position to a seated position on the bench.
  2. The competitor can rest in the rack position or overhead
  3. A brief, distinct pause in the overhead, fixed position is required. If the judge is unable to distinguish a brief pause, you will receive a no-count.
  4. For women, the hand switch can be performed while seated, standing or can put the bell down just long enough to enable a safe switch/transition.
  5. For women, the free hand cannot touch the kettlebell or arm/hand performing the lift. To do so will result in a warning. If the competitor “catches” the kettlebell to prevent it from falling out of the rack, overhead position, or mid-reptition, the set will be terminated.
  6. For both men and women, one point will be awarded per good repetition.
  7. The competitor must remain seated at all times. If a competitor’s hips lose contact with the bench during a repeition, it will result in a no count.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the IKFF ranking table and why did it change?

The idea of ranking tables comes from the Unified Sports Classification System of the USSR, which specified test standards necessary for the conferment of sport ranks and titles. Developing our own set of standards in the IKFF ranking table is a way of honoring Kettlebell Sport’s heritage and culture while at the same time being reflective of the current levels of lifters outside of Russia and the former Soviet Union. The ranking system should be interpreted as a set of benchmarks or goals on which lifters can base their training progressions – similar to the belt system in martial arts (you could even think of the rank “Master of Sport” as comparable to a Kettlebell Sport black belt).

The IKFF has always prided itself on being a progressive organization. If we see a better way to do things, we evolve. We saw a need to update our rankings in an effort to grow the sport and improve the performance and safety of our competitors.

This most recent version of the IKFF ranking table has a few important changes including the addition of the Chair Press event, revisions to the five minute events, and further development of the women’s single and double kettlebell events. We hope the lifting community finds the table both fair to their current abilities and forward looking into the future of our sport. We gladly anticipate the need to make further edits and revisions as you, the lifters, grow stronger and advance the sport.

I am new to the sport, how should I prepare?

It is highly recommended to meet with an experienced coach to obtain trianing guidelines. Since the competition is based on completing good repetitions within a five or ten minute time frame, your training program should be centered around timed sets, pacing your repetitions, volume, and working on your technique for each lift that you will be performing.

How long do I have between events?

For Biathlon, there will be a minimum of 45 minutes of rest between your jerk and snatch flights. We will ensure the flights are configured so that all competitors will receive equal rest between events. Lifters competiting in multiple non-Biathlon events (for example, Long Cycle and Chair Press), may see some deviation from this time frame depending on the number of participants and scheduled flights.

Where will results be posted?

Results will be made available at the competition as well as posted online to the IKFF website (ikff.net).

Where can I find a list/schedule of upcoming meets and events?

We are in the process of scheduling additional events throughout the year. You can find these events on the IKFF website (ikff.net).

Can I bring spectators/guests? How many are allowed?

Yes – as many as you’d like!

How can I host a meet?

Please contact Ken Blackburn at kenblackburn@ikff.net to inquire about hosting an IKFF sponsored meet.

Download the latest Ranking tables, Rules and FAQ